Trip Report

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Kevin Means

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We just returned from a three week, 3120 mile vacation to the FMCA rally in Wyoming, and to some other destinations along the route. What a great trip! Cyndi got to meet Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, who sang at the FMCA rally. They are the sons of her teen idol, Ricky Nelson. Their concert was both nostalgic and very entertaining. Sorry we weren't able to hook up with other Forum members while there. There were about 1800 RVs, were pretty spread out, and we didn't hang out much at our RV.

On the RV side of things, the coach ran great. We absolutely love this RV and had only one house-related "issue" - our electric blackout shade lost its programming and wouldn't budge. I have no idea how that happened, and I had to break out the manual to learn how to reprogram it. It takes two people to program, because the programming switch has to be pushed simultaneously with the up/down switch, and they're about eight feet apart. Oh well, it's working fine now.

We were towing our Jeep, and a lot of the trip was in 100+ degree temps, but we had no trouble at all. I sure love that Jake Brake when decending grades. I decided to manually down-shift twice while climbing some 6% grades - once while near Las Vegas when the temp was 110 degrees, and then again while climbing the 6% grade near San Diego when the temp was 112 degrees. In both cases, down-shifting lowered the coolant temp from 221 to 214 degrees in about 10 seconds.

The one significant expense we did incur was having to replace all eight tires, and the two front shocks. (Ouch!) While refueling at a truck stop in Utah, an observant attendant noticed two chunks of rubber, each about 1/2 inch square, that were missing from the tread in the right tire of our drive-axle.

They were the original Michelin tires that came with the coach, and were about 7 & 1/2 years old. We knew we were going to have to replace them soon, especially since we're planning on going to Alaska next June, but I was hoping they'd make it through this trip. I've paid close attention to their condition, and while they were starting to get some small sidewall cracks, I didn't think there was a significant risk of a blowout. The small missing sections of rubber, however, told me otherwise.

We elected to replace them all, even though neither I nor the tire shop employees could see any glaring problems on any of the other tires. Since they were going to have the tires off, I asked the mechanic to check the shocks, because they too were original. As it turned out, both front shocks were bad. When they were in the extended position, you could collapse them with finger pressure. The rear shocks were fine. The mechanic said it can be hard to tell when shocks go bad on air-ride trucks, because it usually happens slowly, and the air bags mask the problem. Interesting.

The only other issue we encountered was a missing bolt in one of the two brackets that the tow bar attaches to on the Jeep's front bumper. The half inch bolt had worked loose and had fallen out. That meant that that bracket was only attached to the Jeep's bumper with one bolt. The surprising thing was, I had just checked those bolts before we left on this trip, and they were as tight as I could get them. That tells me that there's a lot more stress on those brackets than I thought there was.

They're aftermarket brackets, and they bolt to the Jeep's frame through the aftermarket bumper. I've decided that I'm just going to weld them to the bumper and consider the bolts as a safety net.

The other unique thing about this trip (for us) is that it was the first RV trip of any length that we didn't do any boondocking. Kinda felt like we were spoiling ourselves. :) We stayed at several fair to good campgrounds, but if you're ever going to stop in the Fort Collins, CO area, I'd highly recommend the KOA off County Rd 19 - especially if you've got kids. What a great place! Big sites, FHU, some sites even have spas! There's a chuck wagon on site that makes, and delivers a great pizza. What a great place!

Kev
 

Debra17

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Hi Kev, enjoyed reading your trip report. Glad you and Cyndi had a great time. The concert sounds great - I loved Ricky Nelson. It was so sad when he died. I?ll have to check those two out on YouTube. Sorry about all the repairs but sounds like you would have been doing them soon anyway.
 

PJ Stough

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You werent on I-15 near Beaver, UT at the Flying J when the attendant noticed a problem with your tires, were you?
 

Dragginourbedaround

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?We stayed at several fair to good campgrounds, but if you're ever going to stop in the Fort Collins, CO area, I'd highly recommend the KOA off County Rd 19 - especially if you've got kids. What a great place! Big sites, FHU, some sites even have spas! There's a chuck wagon on site that makes, and delivers a great pizza. What a great place!

We stayed at that KOA for two months the last four years, and you?re absolutely right it is a great place! You can also take the bike trails and bike into Ft Collins and a bunch of microbreweries. When were you there?

Paul 1950 said:
You werent on I-15 near Beaver, UT at the Flying J when the attendant noticed a problem with your tires, were you?
We had problems with that tire store two years in a row. Tried to sell us new tires, because they said my tires looked low and showed pucking. I told them my tires weren?t low and showed them our Eeztire TPMS and they walked away.  I don?t think they?re affiliated with Flying J.
 

Kevin Means

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Believe me, I was very aware of the fact that those tire employees are tasked with looking at rigs as they pass through, to try and point out tire problems that may, or may not be present - for the purpose of selling tires at inflated prices. But I did have several thousand miles to go on this trip, and you could actually see the steel belt through the missing chunks of rubber. They were 7 & 1/2 years old and due for replacement, but I did end up paying about $40.00 per tire more than if I would have bought them at home. It was worth it for the peace of mind.

Kev
 

PJ Stough

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Kevin Means said:
Indeed we were Paul. Why do you ask? (Now I'm scared)

Kev

From another forum.  Hope it is ok to post here.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f59/beware-beaver-ut-i-15-flying-j-truck-stop-sportys-to-go-tire-auto-center-354735.html

 

SargeW

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Wow Paul, that is one incredible story. I can imagine what could have happened if that guy had a blowout on those way overloaded tires going through the Nevada dessert. Talk about buyer beware. 

That sounds like a great trip Kev, it's great to hear you are out there putting miles on that rig!  We are trying to get into a Tiffin rally in Wyoming in 2019. The registration opens in December, so Diane has it flagged.  Diane just put us into the FMCA rally in Indio today. We got a 30 amp electric spot, so I am a happy camper. 
 

Kevin Means

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That was definitely the same place Paul... interesting article too. I don't remember the guy's name who spotted our tire damage, but I was glad he did - it was real. I have no reason to doubt the guy who wrote about getting ripped off, but unlike him, we got the tires I wanted... I just paid more for them than if I had bought them at home, but I knew that going into it.

They actually had several brands available, including Michelin, but they wanted almost $900 per tire for them (speed-baIanced and installed.) I've come to the conclusion, however, that Michelins "may" roll farther down the road than some other brands, but I don't think they'll last any longer (time-wise) as evidenced by our well cared for Michelins. They needed replacing with less than 34,000 miles on them, when they were less than eight years old. Pretty typical for RV tires.

Kev
 
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